When the hot Malawian sun shone down on my scalp one fine Saturday morning, it started to dawn on me that my overland solo expedition across five southern African countries on a budget had commenced. My heart beat with anticipation.
Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that on a budget, I would chase islands in Mozambique, swim in the devil’s pool in Zambia, survive a coup in Zimbabwe and see the southernmost part of Africa where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Now, five southern African countries later, I have learnt a lot about backpacking in Africa. Here, I share the three things I have learnt so far.
How to be content
In some parts of Africa, access to basic things like clean water, clothing and education is a privilege. I saw people barely surviving but they were probably the happiest people I have ever seen. It has made me want to see more, do more and complain less. I realized that having no internet access is not the end of the world and sometimes the best stories may come from seating in a chicken bus when out of nowhere a goat lands on the windscreen.
How to think creatively
Thinking outside the box is significant when you are a solo traveller on the road. People on social media assume that travel is nothing but glitz and glamour. Budget travel is anything but. One time all the buses to my next destination were booked, another time I got scammed by a taxi driver and then there is that time I pre-booked a hostel with bugs. I learnt that when adjusting to new situations I am able to think creatively.
Sometimes I will have to work independently to achieve my intended goals.
Due to different circumstances, my friends couldn't team up with me on this trip and the thought of travelling alone was nerve racking. After careful and thorough research and careful planning, I travelled alone and in the process collected incredible memories.
Budget travelling taught me how to be a hardcore explorer. Nowadays when it comes to managing time and money, I always strive to do the right thing for me and to never settle!
Are you interested in travelling across southern African countries on a budget?
In the next few blogs, I will be sharing my experiences on traveling by bus/overland through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It has been done and it can be done.
Want to know how I afford to travel? Have a look at my cheat sheet: